While one gym faces fines, other Mississauga fitness centres fly under the radar
Published May 29, 2021 at 12:33 am
The City of Mississauga has dealt with one gym that had been openly defying COVID-19 closure orders in a high-profile manner, but a string of other fitness facilities are also allowing customers to come in.
In what may be the worst kept secret in the city, several gyms are operating in a not-so-covertly fashion, some using loopholes while others are flying under the radar and operating as if it is business as usual.
Insauga.com has reached out to the City of Mississauga to find out if these gyms have been fined or are being investigated. The City has not yet responded.
The rogue businesses have been operating while HUF Gym this week came into compliance with provincial guidelines concerning the opening of businesses during the pandemic.
Up until now, HUF, a popular boxing training site, has been waging a battle with Mississauga over its continuing operation in defiance of the COVID rules that call for fitness centres to be closed during lockdown and stay-at-home orders. The gym had refused to allow City bylaw staff onto the premises.
That changed this week when bylaw officers were allowed into HUF who found that it was running under an exemption to Provincial regulations that allows fitness centres to operate to assist in the treatment of those who have verified health issues and are rehabilitating injuries or dealing with mental health disorders.
In the meantime, other gym and fitness centre owners say they are using the HUF example to remain open.
All businesses insauga.com talked to for this story did not want to name their operation or location over fears that the publicity will turn unwanted attention onto them. All those contacted said they have not been issued any fines or summonses.
“Why shouldn’t we open,” said one gym operator. “If HUF can do it and get away with it then what’s the problem? I mean, this is my livelihood. If I don’t open my business is going down.”
But getting away with it is not necessarily in the cards for the owners of HUF.
Sam Rogers, Mississauga’s Director of Enforcement, said at a news conference earlier this week that even though HUF is in compliance now, the owners still have to face six earlier charges for operating and the matter will be dealt with in Provincial court. If found guilty, HUF faces fines that could reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Still, financial penalties don’t appear to frighten other gym operators as some believe the charges will get tossed out over the vague intentions of the Provincial laws, while others say they are just giving in to customer demands.
“For the most part we have never stopped operating,” said another gym owner. “A bunch of other gyms have done the same. Nobody has been complaining and we have been left alone. I am thankful for that.”
Sources have told insauga.com that at least 10 and as many as 15 gyms, fitness centres and workout areas are currently operating in Mississauga. The numbers have not been confirmed.
Of the gyms that were contacted several indicated they were open for the “health reasons” of customers and most said that even though they recognize that “technically’ they may be breaking the rules, they believe the laws are wrong. As well, all have said that protocols are in place such as social distancing and the cleaning of equipment.
With the Ontario government planning to begin re-opening the economy next month, some of the gym owners believe that time is on their side. They hope they will be allowed to open legally within weeks and that they won’t be held accountable for what they have been doing for weeks and months.
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